This weekend we got a goodly amount of practice in, among other things, the pieces of aikijo that Tomiki left us as parts of Sankata and Rokukata.
For quite a while now I have had a problem with this material that I have been unable to fully articulate. Well, I'd say I still need a lot of practice time on this material but i have at least made some progress in defining my problem and moving toward a resolution.
I've heard it said multiple times regarding both Ueshiba and Tomiki that their classes were sort of like Graduate schools for folks that were already either expers or else they were at least familiar with the domain. It seems that Ueshiba and Tomiki were both able to assume some familiarity with sword and yari/shortspear/bayonette. Uexhiba's students had either used or seen these weapons in use as children, and Tomiki's students were products of a public school system in which kendo (and to a lesser extent, jukendo) were widespread.
So, these teachers were able to give their students a fairly small set of modular add-ins that plugged into their pre-existing knowledge base and made sense and showed how to apply the principles of aiki to a weapons context.
But modern, western students completely lack that background in sword, spear, and bayonette - so the small sets of add-ins (jodori and jonage for instance) lack context and don't make sense. They just bring up more problems than they answer and they lack closure. They lack the background or context that they need to plug in successfully.
So... how did we work on fixing this perceived problem this weekend? Stay tuned to find out...